It takes six people to fill Richard Osman’s shoes, and not just because he wears a size 14. Back in April, the TV presenter, producer and novelist announced that he was leaving his co-presenter role on Pointless to focus on his hugely successful Thursday Murder Club book series and other projects. Due to the ‘stars we see in the night sky are actually hundreds of years in the past’ nature of TV broadcast, by that point, Osman was already four months out of the job. His final episode of the regular Pointless (he’ll still appear on the celebrity editions) was filmed in December 2021 and aired in July 2022, with this touching message to Alexander Armstrong.
Now, Pointless is back for Series 28 with a rotating clutch of new guest-hosts sitting behind Osman’s fact-checking desk. First up is Sally Lindsay, and following her will be Stephen Mangan, Lauren Laverne, Alex Brooker, Konnie Huq and Ed Gamble. Here’s a rundown on them all and their TV quizzing histories.
Actor and TV presenter Sally Lindsay first became known for playing Rovers landlady Shelley Unwin on ITV soap Coronation Street, but has a far earlier claim to fame. As she told the viewers of a Pointless Celebrities festive edition in 2018, she had a Christmas number one hit in 1980 as one of the schoolchildren in the St Winifred’s School Choir singing ‘There’s No-One Quite Like Grandma’. She was teamed up in that episode with poet Roger McGough, but they went out in round two, losing to pop stars Sonia and Jamelia, after McGough failed to correctly identify the lowest scoring Christmas Carol from the clue. That’s poets for you. Lindsay is also known for roles in Scott & Bailey, Mount Pleasant and more recently The Madame Blanc Mysteries. Her first Pointless episodes will air from the 20th – 23rd and 26th – 30th of September, and from the 3rd to 4th of October 2022.
Actor, TV presenter and audiobook narrator Stephen Mangan is beloved among cult comedy fans for Green Wing, Dirk Gently, and the brilliant Episodes and possibly best recognised as the face of Sue Townsend’s grown-up Adrian Mole character, as well as that of Nathan on BBC legal drama The Split. Mangan has presented Have I Got News For You numerous times, and is a TV quizzing stalwart with Tipping Point, The Wheel, Richard Osman’s House of Games (he was the weekly winner), Celebrity Catchphrase, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and more all under his belt. This co-presenting gig will be his Pointless debut. Look out for his episodes from the 5th – 7th, 10th – 14th and 17th – 19th of October 2022.
Presenter, comedian and journalist Alex Brooker is best known for his regular gig on Channel 4’s The Last Leg, but has appeared on numerous TV shows (including CBeebies Bedtime Stories, pictured above) and made a memorable debut this year as the first physically disabled player to participate in celebrity charity football event Soccer Aid. Brooker’s been a guest on multiple panel and chat shows, and in terms of quizzing, has appeared on The Wall, The Wheel, Tipping Point and, like Sally Lindsay above, Richard Osman’s House of Games (though unlike Stephen Mangan and Ed Gamble, they didn’t win overall). Brooker’s yet to appear on screen in Pointless Celebrities, making the co-presenter gig his debut on the show.
A radio and TV presenter on BBC 6 Music, and the current host of BBC Radio 4’s long-running musical favourites series Desert Island Discs, Lauren Laverne is a writer, broadcaster and former musician. She’s co-presented The One Show and was a writer/presenter alongside Charlie Brooker and David Mitchell on topical news comedy show 10 O’Clock Live. Laverne presents the BBC Glastonbury Festival footage every year (pictured above) and quiz-wise, appeared on Never Mind the Buzzcocks multiple times as a panellist and once as guest host. Like Alex Brooker above, Laverne has not yet appeared on Pointless Celebrities, so her grasp of esoteric facts is still under wraps for now.
Children’s novelist and TV presenter Konnie Huq came to fame presenting classic BBC teatime show Blue Peter, and has made cameo appearances in numerous shows from Good Omens to Diane Morgan comedy Mandy (pictured above). With her husband Charlie Brooker, Huq co-wrote ‘Fifteen Million Merits’, the Black Mirror episode that got Daniel Kaluuya the gig on Oscar-nominated film Get Out. In June 2012, she appeared on Pointless Celebrities alongside Lionel Blair (RIP), Angela Rippon, Inside No. 9’s Steve Pemberton and children’s presenter Angellica Bell, so she already knows the ropes.
Comedian, podcaster and Great British Menu judge Ed Gamble is a stand-up (currently touring the UK with show ‘Electric’) and the host of the official Taskmaster podcast. He’s a foodie whose Off Menu podcast, co-hosted with fellow comic James Acaster, pairs dining chat with light-hearted celebrity interviews. Like Stephen Mangan above, Gamble was the weekly winner during his time on Richard Osman’s House of Games and appeared in a comedians’ special episode of Pointless Celebrities with his pal Nish Kumar in January 2020. His specialist subject on Celebrity Mastermind? The peerless 30 Rock.
Pointless Series 28 starts on Tuesday the 20th of September at 5.15pm on BBC One.